College football: Oilers’ Sylla on Harlon Hill list

University of Findlay senior running back Daouda Sylla was recognized Monday with a spot on the 2017 Harlon Hill Trophy regional ballot.
The Harlon Hill Trophy is awarded to the most valuable Division II football player — the equivalent of the Heisman Trophy for Division I.
Sylla is one of 10 nominees from Super Region I and one of 34 total candidates.
The top two players from each of the four regional voting periods will make the national ballot, announced Nov. 30, with the winner being named Dec. 15.
“Everyone that’s ever received an individual award here, I will say they all know that it’s not just them receiving that award and recognition,” UF coach Rob Keys said.
The 5-foot-9, 210-pound Sylla is sixth in the country with 1,471 rushing yards and tied for sixth with 18 rushing touchdowns in just 11 games played. His 6.72 yards per carry ranks fifth amongst backs with at least 200 attempts.
He’s fresh off a career-performance of 205 yards on 33 carries with a rushing score during Saturday’s 29-17 first round playoff win over No. 2 Shepherd.
Sylla, who moved from the defensive side of the ball to running back his junior year, has consistently helped the Oilers move the chains all season long.
He’s churned out eight 100-yard games and was only held scoreless in one game (Week 2 vs Ferris State).
“Numbers play a lot when it comes to those awards,” Keys said. “The great thing about this team, they’re much more focused on the team achievements as opposed to the individual.
“I’m happy for Daouda. I’m happy for everybody that allowed that to happen.”
Other UF Harlon Hill nominees under Keys include running back Daiquone Ford (2013), quarterback Verlon Reed (2014) and current starting quarterback Rhys Gervais (2015).


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